Good News, Honey! We Need a New Dishwasher!

What mindfulness looks like.

While I consider this something of a mindfulness cliche (judgment), it’s still somewhat fortuitous (judgment) that our dishwasher was declared “not worth fixing” (judgment…oh, wait, that wasn’t my judgment) by the repair guy today.

For at least the past couple of weeks, the dishwasher’s been making funny noises and just generally acting oddly. The dishes in the top rack weren’t really getting very clean, but we operated under the assumption that, since they had run through the dishwasher, they were getting washed. When the dishwasher was finished, we’d put the dishes away and then use them again. After the repairman explained today that the sounds we were hearing indicated that the pump was not getting water to the top rack, we decided that we could no longer pretend that the dishes were getting clean. So, while we shop for a new dishwasher, we are doing the dishes by hand and using the dishwasher as a drying rack. By which, of course, I mean that I am doing dishes by hand and using the dishwasher as a drying rack.

Rather than complain about this turn of events (well, I complained a little), I decided to use it as an opportunity to do dishes mindfully. I washed each dish and brought awareness to my breath and the sensations in my body. I didn’t remain aware of my breath or the dishes or the moment constantly. But the calm and the deep breathing helped me to use a gentle voice (rather than yelling or being sarcastic or yelling something sarcastic) to tell my husband that it would have been more help to me if he’d put all of the leftovers away rather than just the ones he wanted for his lunch tomorrow.

And while I wasn’t in the moment while doing dishes, I was thinking about how this day (August 3rd) last year was my due date with my son. I remembered how the six days between my due date and when my son was born were surprisingly blissful and cathartic. My sister was visiting and while I worried that the baby wouldn’t be born before she went back home, I was thankful to have her help with my daughter during those days. I was grateful to be able to share my pregnancy with her as we watched the “belly show” every evening and took the bus around town because I could no longer fit behind the steering wheel of my car. I even got to share with her the awkwardness of people swearing I must be having twins and then looking at me with suspicion when I insisted that there was only one human in my belly. It was during that week that we discovered the tree in our front yard was a plum tree and was covered with ripe, golden plums. I remembered the fear and worry and then the release when I finally broke down and cried about feeling somehow responsible for not having given birth yet. That week was a respite from many of the discomforts I’d had throughout pregnancy, and I felt more energetic and happier than I had in months. It was a wonderful prelude to my son’s birth and to my birth as the mother of two children.

Had the dishwasher been working, I would have rushed through the task and not had time to reflect on all of these memories. I felt a sense of ease, quiet, calm, and satisfaction throughout the soaping and rinsing of the dishes that’s lasted even after the task itself was complete. I might even say that the demise of the dishwasher has been something of a blessing.

I’m still getting a new dishwasher, though.

 

4 comments

  1. timbra · August 5, 2010

    when i’m hating doing the dishes and wanting to complain about it i think about things like. . . i have running water, i have HOT running water, I have soap, and a sponge, and a SINK and a dishwasher, and yeah. . . might have been nice for hubby to put away the leftovers . . i have LEFTOVERS. . .i have FOOD and a stove and that’s why the dirty dishes are there. . . wait. . i have DISHES. . . i try to remind myself of all the things i HAVE that many people in the world don’t have, and that’s why i have dirty dishes (or piles of clutter, or laundry up to my eyeballs. . . . because I HAVE). . . anyway, washing dishes. . .it just brings SO much clarity doesn’t it???

    Like

    • CJ · August 5, 2010

      What a great idea, Timbra! I have to be careful with this kind of thinking, though, because I easily turn it into beating myself up for complaining at all.

      Like

  2. Victoria · August 4, 2010

    I was thinking of you this morning when I heated up water in the oatmeal pot, scrubbed the breakfast dishes in the tiny sink, rinsed them quickly with cold water, stacked them precariously on towels, but then before the last dish was done, I ran out of water. Doing the dishes then became a walk out of the boat and onto the dock to turn on the faucet, a trip inside the boat with the hose (interrupting good pretend time), moving the settee cushions out of the way, opening the tanks with the special tool, and concentrating on the sound of the water telling me when I was nearing the top of each 40 gallon tank. If I hadn’t been interrupted by a sibling fight near the end when I was trying to top off the second tank it would have been very peaceful and pleasant. I decided to not finish topping off that tank instead of fighting the kids away to get them to be quiet. (I could totally use a drying rack, but somehow we’re managing without a dishwasher pretty well.)

    Like

    • CJ · August 5, 2010

      When you were thinking of me, were you thinking how lame I was for complaining about doing dishes in my double sink with plenty of hot running water? 🙂

      Like

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